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AlienCortex AV
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

AlienCortex AV

by IFadeToGrey on Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:49 pm

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let everyone know about a new Arduino sketch-compatible platform I recently designed and just released on Kickstarter.com this morning. It's a great platform for video games, robotics, and synthesizers.

Image

Here's a link to the project if you're interested in checking it out:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/794668827/aliencortex-av
IFadeToGrey
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:08 pm

Re: AlienCortex AV

by seedjar on Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:09 pm

This is awesome! I'd already be backing this if I weren't sinking every spare penny into trying to get my own project off the ground. May I ask how much time you've spent getting this ready? I want to run a banned on Kickstarter myself but am more than a little intimidated. When I first learned of crowdfunding I was hoping I could use it to raise the funds for my development costs, but after doing some research it began to seem wiser to get some prototypes finished first so that I can demonstrate what my gear is supposed to do. If you don't mind, I'd very much like to pick your brain sometime.
~Joe
o/~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o/~

seedjar
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:25 pm
Location: Olympia, Washington

Re: AlienCortex AV

by IFadeToGrey on Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:16 pm

Hi seedjar,

Thanks for your positive remarks, and I'm more than happy to answer your questions about my experience so far :-)

With regard to time, it's basically been my life for the past 6 months... but I guess technically it really goes back another five months before that, as AlienCortex AV really grew out of a design for a digital synthesizer I'd started work on last summer. (There's a short thread about that design here: http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=17989) Finishing the synth up will likely be the next project.

As far as crowd funding, don't be intimidated... In general, my experience with it has really shown me that people *want* to see each other succeed, and people want to be a part of that process when you're doing something they can connect with.

AlienCortex AV has only been up on Kickstarter.com for a day and a half, and I've really been very taken with the support, and the encouraging messages, and of course the backers. One guy pledged $2 this morning to help with the AlienCortex AV manufacturing run. How cool is that!? He didn't have to do anything, but it meant a lot to me that he took a little time out of his day and a couple dollars out of his pocket just to share in someone else's dream and help them move forward. That's awesome, and it's really been personally inspiring. :-)

Speaking of which, I need to also say thanks Adafruit for helping me spread the word of the Kickstarter project on twitter and their blog. (Thank you Adafruit :-) )

With regard to what stage you should ask for funding, I personally felt that it was important for me to prototype AlienCortex AV first before trying to get funding on Kickstarter. I'd actually gone through three separate sets of prototypes before everything was right.. (... and now have a small pile of dead AlienCortex AV carcasses in my work area from the first two revisions... lol :-).

All that to say, I just knew that I would have much more confidence in myself putting it out there, as well as confidence from others if I'd already toughed out the hard part first.

With that, I would indeed encourage you to press forward with your project, and look forward to seeing what you end up doing!

-Bryan
Last edited by IFadeToGrey on Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
IFadeToGrey
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:08 pm

Re: AlienCortex AV

by seedjar on Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:36 pm

Thanks to you as well for the words of encouragement. I've been working hard at this for about six months myself. For the past three or so it's been the the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. But I've had to teach myself a lot along the way first; I've possessed a passing understanding of electronics since grade school, but no substantial experience and only a tiny bit of formal education up until I bought some kits here back in early winter. I'm a programmer primarily, and did a little bit of computer architecture and microcontrollers back in my first year of college, but beyond that I've basically had to start from the ground up. I've read about a dozen books cover-to-cover since I decided to follow this path, and have been slowly slogging through The Art of Electronics and Machinery's Handbook. And there's yet still a big stack of books I haven't even cracked.
My project has grown out of something I envisioned ten years ago, before I had even finished high school. Until I learned about what was going on with the Arduino and small-scale fabrication, I didn't think it would be possible to launch without the backing of a big company though. Even with the boom in DIY and maker culture, it still seems like a long shot, but I would never be able to forgive myself if I didn't try. I'm out of work and can't finish my degree because of chronic health problems, and starting my own business looks like my best chance at gaining financial independence and moving forward with my life. I'm fortunate enough to have some really talented and generous people helping me to get the ball rolling, but they all have day jobs and their own priorities so I still have to pull most of the weight for the time being.
I urgently want to tell people about my project and find help, but like many people in my position, I'm afraid I'll get scooped and miss my chance. Moreso, I'm trying to break into markets with more-than-generous profit margins, dominated by some pretty big players, and I'm fairly sure that if they learned someone was aiming to create open-source, at-cost, feature-rich replacements for their products, they'd make it a priority to squash or outmaneuver me. So I'm torn - announce myself early and raise the stakes even higher than they already are, or toil mostly alone, pinching pennies and relying on sample parts for development? Neither feels like a particularly good option. I'm determined to see it through though, even if it doesn't turn into a big success or make me a millionaire overnight. This will make a lot of people's lives easier, and maybe even help some who are urgently in need, so it goes above and beyond my own priorities.
Could you perhaps PM me your contact information? If we could chat on AIM or the like, I'm sure I'll come up with many more questions. Here also works if you prefer, but in the forum format I tend to be especially prone to rambling. XD
Thanks again!
~Joe
o/~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o/~

seedjar
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:25 pm
Location: Olympia, Washington

Re: AlienCortex AV

by IFadeToGrey on Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:16 pm

Hi Joe,

I know the feeling... That's how it's been for me for the last five or six months with AlienCortex. :-)

Keep in mind that it all boils down to the fact that you have to enjoy the process... not just the end result.

So what will make *you* happy during the process... Do you have enough enjoyment in the pursuit of your dream and in the joy of innovating to continue going at it alone throughout each day?

or

Would you be a happier person overall, and would you enjoy the process of innovation more if you had other like-minded people involved, and helping to provide you with reassurance?

My personality works better with the first approach, but that's me... but in general, I would say the question of what actually will make you happy is one of the bigger questions that sometimes gets overlooked. :-)

With said... of course... you or anyone else is certainly welcome to contact me. I don't stay logged in much with AIM, but feel to either PM me on here, or email me at bryan@fabuloussilicon.com, just so long as you give me a little time to respond, as things have been a little crazy since the kickstarter launch over the last couple of days.

Take care, and keep moving forward, whatever you decide to do!!
-Bryan
IFadeToGrey
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:08 pm

Re: AlienCortex AV

by seedjar on Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:55 pm

Congratulations on hitting your goal! That was lighting fast! I sure hope Adafruit will plug my project once I'm ready to launch. XD
Sorry I haven't emailed - I've been kind of busy and also a little under the weather this past week. I definitely have questions for you, I'm just waiting until I'm not scattered and incoherent.
Thanks,
~Joe
o/~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o/~

seedjar
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:25 pm
Location: Olympia, Washington

Re: AlienCortex AV

by Battery on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:03 am

Hi,

Nice board! Maybe I'll buy it! Congrats with your Kickstarter project.

Being able to load the Arduino to the FPGA and programming it with sketches, like I would with the real Arduino, but with FPGA speed is real amazing!!

I understand that in these days programming processors into FPGA and then program the processor is becoming a common thing. But one thing is a corporation doing this, other thing is an individual managing to accomplish this. How much time did you spend making the tools that allow the AVR8 core run arduino C code?
Battery
 
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Re: AlienCortex AV

by richms on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:42 pm

Not used kickstarter before, so a few questions.

If I was to pledge the cheap $5 option now because its all I can afford, is it able to be upgraded to the one that gets me a board later on?

richms
 
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Location: New Zealand

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.